Although carrying gear in a backpack is easier than carrying it in your arms, sometimes even a backpack can be too heavy. That’s where the HipStar comes in – it’s a hands-free cart that allows users to tow their bag behind them as they walk.
Currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, the HipStar looks a bit like a hand truck, but with larger wheels and a pair of horizontal handles at the top. These handles are in turn attached to a padded belt, which the user wears around their waist.
The HipStar is designed to place the backpack’s center of gravity above (and slightly ahead of) the cart’s wheel axle, keeping the rig balanced while towed. Its handles are suspended below the belt – at hip height – via a few vertical straps, allowing them to move up and down a little relative to the user. Things are smoothed out further by a damper in each handle, which takes the form of a spring-loaded joint where the handle joins the cart’s main 6061-T6 aluminum frame.
For situations where towing just isn’t an option (such as when traversing rough terrain), the HipStar itself can be worn as a backpack, with the actual backpack still strapped on. this. The device can also be pulled like a suitcase on wheels – in this scenario, the two main handles are folded parallel to the frame of the cart, with the user grabbing it by a third suitcase-like handle located between them. Via an adapter, the HipStar can also be towed behind a bicycle.
In any case, once the user has arrived at his destination, the trolley can be parked in a vertical orientation by folding down its retractable stand. It can also be folded flat for transport or storage, with the wheels resting flat against the frame.
If you are interested, the Hip Star is offered in two models, the MD (medium duty) and the HD (heavy duty). The MD is said to weigh 11 lbs (5 kg) and can carry up to 80 lbs (36 kg), while the HD tips the scales at around 12.5 lbs (6 kg) and is rated up to 100 lbs (45 kg). Assuming they hit production, a $339 pledge will get you the former, with $399 required for the latter. Expected retail prices are $399 and $480 respectively.
You can see the HipStar in action, in the video below.
Potential backers may also want to check out the more extreme-use (and more expensive) Monowalker hiking trailer, as well as its tired sibling, the Fatmate.
HipStar: The Best Hands-Free Backpacking Trailer